Dawn used to have a saying. She used to say prior to cancer, “she had a bad script in her head”.
What she meant by that was the part of her mind that discriminated between good people and bad people, between things that were good for her and not so good for her was broken. She chose to marry a known physical and emotional abuser instead of putting in more time with someone who she admitted treated her much better.
That script manifested itself in many ways like the above, but it also was much more subtle and pernicious. That script raised its twisted head with every decision and every event that happened in her life. It always ran in the background second guessing and never giving her any peace.
I never really experienced anything like that other than when a serious girlfriend broke up with me. When Kristen broke up with me, I spent a month or two reviewing the situation and trying to make sense of it. Both she and I came to the realization, that although I am far from perfect, she was the truly broken part of that relationship. When she broke up with me for the last time, I was not happy; but, those nagging voices were silent.
When I found out that Dawn had married “shithead” instead of getting more involved with me, those voices of doubt and self recrimination came back. Armed with the knowledge gained from fighting them with Kristen, I fought back hard. What I didn’t realize is the depth of the emotional commitment is turned against you. Meaning, my deeper commitment to Dawn gave the voices more food and more fodder. It took months to fight them to a stalemate. Once I had them fought to a stalemate, they were a good foil for me to learn from. After all not all self recriminations are wrong.
I never really, truly defeated them. But, I didn’t have to, Dawn came back. They switched tactics to suspicion, but that was easily defeated.
I find myself in that same position once again. I am fighting (a bad script?), just hoping to reach stalemate. I am tackling those voices, but it is much like fighting a hydra. For each one I behead, two seem to grow back. At some point, I will at least beat them to a draw. I do learn from them as we battle. One of the worst things I have learned, is that I forgot many of the relationship lessons I learned from my last two battles with this foe. That simple fact batters my pride and bruises my intelligence, but they deserve to be hurt. If you are going to be stupid or vain, you should just accept the pain.
If I am a tad less focused than normal. If I am a bit (more) recalcitrant. If I seem a little lost in my own head. Now you know why.
And they have lots of food and fodder this time, too.